Happy Father’s Day! What a wonderful day to honor the men in your life that helped to raise you and shape who you are, for better or worse.
I spent the afternoon having lunch with my family at Dim Sum filling our bellies with dumplings, noodles, and other delights. Family time is such a large part of my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I know there are people out there who want nothing to do with their families and would rather spend their time elsewhere, but I have been blessed enough to have a beautiful family that I love with all my heart. Since I was little, I always looked forward to holidays and birthdays because I knew a good time awaited. Good food. Karaoke. Games. Storytelling.
Family time is such a beautiful thing. I don’t know if it is cultural or because of the amazing job my Lola and Lolo did raising their children, but no matter what is going on in the world or in life, family gatherings are always full of love, laughter, and happiness!
I diverged from my usual posts to write this because lately I feel creatively unfulfilled. I miss being able to put my fingers to the keys and write something meaningful and emotionally charged. I have less time to let my mind water. I read less. Writing has become a luxury. I miss reading novels and actively looking for meaning or letting a passage strike me and inspire me to say something about it. It’s hard to extract deep meaning from a text when I don’t have an obligation to write about it. I still get pleasure from reading, but my ideas and thoughts are uninspired and therefore less interesting to me. I remember moments while reading where I would gasp and have to write notes in the margin or highlight a passage because I knew this was something inspiring me to write about it.
That is what drew me to the English field. I loved writing papers. I wanted the challenge to form something meaningful, moving, thought-provoking on a blank computer screen. I was typically successful in doing so. So successful that my thesis, that I slaved over for more than a year, passed with distinction and I was invited to present it at the Hawaiian International Convention on the Arts and Humanities in 2012 as a graduate student. I was so fiercely proud that my work was held in such high regard. I wrote my thesis with Kiana Davenport’s Shark Dialogues and after she accepted my friend request on Facebook last week, I told her of my accomplishments and how her work contributed to my success. This was her reply:
REALLY?! I cannot express how excited I was to read her encouraging words; to be recognized by a successful writer gave me such a rush of confidence. But as the days passed by, I thought more about her words. Have I moved forward towards the next dream? What is my next dream? This harkens back to what do I want to be when I grow up? conversations. Am I going in the right direction? What is my next move? Do I love my job? The long and short answer is I don’t know.
Life is such a mystery. We are living in a vastly different world from our parents. No longer are women expected to marry right out of high school and produce children. Adult children live at home up to and throughout their thirties. We are encouraged to chase our dreams and find a job we love, yet the job market demands highly educated adults to work for beans. The economy is still tough, housing prices are astronomical, and college students graduate with enough debt to keep them in the red through their forties. What are we to do? Are current twenty-something’s the generation to live at home forever and never be taken seriously because we cannot afford to live on our own?
As I approach my birthday this week, my twenty-seventh year on this great green earth, I ponder these questions. I wonder where I will be in 5-10-20 years. Should I have moved to Hawaii and pursued by PhD? Should I have moved to Hawaii and lived under a picnic table on the beach? Should I be financially stable enough to move out on my own? Get married? Have children? These questions haunt me nightly. Do you know that time at night, in the dark, between wakefulness and sleep when your mind turns over and exposes all of your (un)conscious worries and questions? Being left alone in the quiet with your thoughts is quite frightening.
Those nightly thoughts produce such a range of feelings – from anger to worry to fear – that the future becomes like the monster in your closet: you’re not sure what it looks like and you’re too afraid to face it with open eyes and confidence. The only remedy I can fathom is to take life one step at a time and enjoy your journey to the endpoint. I like to think of it like one of those make-your-own-stories – where you can turn to page 34 if you want to explore the old abandoned house or turn to page 58 if you choose to bypass it and go home. Everyone’s journey is different and while we can learn from the past, only we can make the choices that will progress us forward.
I don’t know where I will be in 5 years. I don’t know if our generation is full of people who will live with our parents forever and never get married. What I do know is this: It’s okay to not know. While I don’t know where life will take me next, I do know I am working toward that next dream – that next step; because time can only go forward and in time things will change. My actions today will affect me 10 years from now. Perhaps my next dream has not yet been realized, but is waiting there in the shadows of my mind to show itself in all of its wonder and mystery. This life is a wondrous journey, the most amazing ride we will ever experience.
Until I reach (better yet – realize) the next step/change/dream, I will enjoy where life takes me. I pledge to love the people in it, family and friends alike. I will forgive those who wrong me and give to those who need me. I will strive to read more to feed my mind and write more to satisfy my heart. I will enjoy every laugh, every smile, and every moment I spend with my family. I will show gratitude for everything that makes me who and what I am.
Until next time, live – really LIVE – Aloha.